Connor Sirois. Will Mitchell. Perrin Conant.

They aren’t well known to high school football fans yet, but their coaches hope they will be soon. That’s because each player will be running the show this season as first-year varsity quarterbacks at top Class A programs.

Sirois takes over for Cam Day at defending champion Bonny Eagle. All Mitchell – a sophomore – has to do is follow in the footsteps of Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Michael Laverierre (and before him current Lafayette sophomore Austin McCrum). Conant replaces Jack Casale at Cheverus.

The three will have some company. Seven of the eight 2016 Class A regional semifinalists will have first-year varsity quarterbacks this season.

Zoltan Panyi at Scarborough is the one returning quarterback.

At Sanford, former wide receiver Ethan Emard replaces Lobster Bowl pick Frankie Veino. Windham will go with senior Tanner Bernier after three seasons with Desmond Leslie.

Emard and Bernier are varsity veterans.

“He’s been in huge games and on the field for big plays,” said Windham Coach Matt Perkins of Bernier. “He has that experience and confidence. Now when you’re a new quarterback you just have to get the speed right. You just need live reps.”

The quarterback change isn’t quite as significant at Oxford Hills because the Vikings threw one touchdown pass all last season (an overtime winner in its playoff game against Edward Little). Colton Carson, who has made a verbal commitment to play baseball at Maine, will make his first start at QB for the Vikings.

Then there’s Portland. As of Wednesday, Coach Jim Hartman said he and his staff are still deciding who will start when the Bulldogs host Oxford Hills in a game moved to 7 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Senior Vinnie Pasquali and junior Renaldo Wakati both played a half in a scrimmage against Brunswick. Neither has played the position before. Sophomore Sam Knop, who has experience as a QB, is another option.

“What you have to do, and what I do, is design the offense behind the players,” said Hartman.

“So we’re still evaluating. Vinny can do certain things. Renaldo can do some other things. If it’s Sam Knop, I can run more offense but being a sophomore has its own problems.”

In terms of development of a quarterback, Hartman acknowledged the Bulldogs are behind the curve. The other teams have been able to stick with a succession plan. Sirois, Mitchell and Conant were the backups in 2016. Each took varsity snaps. Conant started Cheverus’ first two games when Casale was sidelined with mononucleosis and went 1-1. Bernier was Windham’s backup as a freshman and sophomore.

Those players also had the summer to prepare for their new position.

“Connor had a great summer,” said Bonny Eagle Coach Kevin Cooper of Sirois, a senior three-sport athlete. “He doesn’t run as physically as Cam Day did but we have no qualms about him being our quarterback.”

In Class B, there has been a normal changeover. Four of the eight regional semifinal quarterbacks return, including Greely senior Nick Gauvin, a three-year starter. For Greely Coach Dave Higgins, it’s comforting to know Gauvin understands the foundational nuances of the position – setting the formations, remembering the cadence, play calling and commanding the huddle.

“Now he can have more responsibility. If he sees something he doesn’t like at the line, he can audible to a different play,” Higgins said. “That’s something I wouldn’t have let him do in his first year. At least not week one.”

Defending Class B state champ Brunswick will have nine new starters on offense, including junior QB Nate Girardin.

Because of Brunswick’s dominance last season, Girardin took a lot of varsity snaps in mop-up situations and started at the JV level.

Still, his first varsity start – particularly with talented Messalonskee coming to town – will be a challenge.

“He’s a novice as far as doing it when it matters in a varsity game, but he’s got all the reps in the world to prepare him for this moment,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper. “He just needs to relax, stay the course and not try to do too much.”

LESS THAN FIVE months after being closed because of unsafe bleachers, Waterhouse Field is ready for Friday’s season opener. Biddeford hosts Westbrook at 7 p.m.

The area surrounding the field still has an “under construction” feel but major progress has taken place. The old bleachers are gone. A new perimeter fence has been installed. Four new light structures passed their audition Wednesday night. A pair of 300-seat metal bleachers, borrowed from Massabesic High, and a smaller 110-seat set that was at Biddeford High, have been placed along the visitor’s side. Scaffolding for the Biddeford coaches and video crew is erected on the opposite side.

Still to come are major installations (new scoreboard, press box and permanent bleachers) and smaller, cosmetic improvements.

Biddeford Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray said the scoreboard, which will have video capability and an updated sound system, could be in place for the second home game Sept. 22 against Falmouth.

Construction of permanent seating could begin even sooner, though a firm date hasn’t been set.

“My hope is that we’ll see them by the end of the season,” Ray said.

TRAIP ACADEMY Athletic Director Mike Roberge said the Rangers will forfeit their opener at Sacopee Valley on Friday because the team doesn’t have enough healthy, eligible players. Both schools are part of the new Class E, designed to help struggling programs develop while playing at a varsity level.

The teams will still play but will structure the game as a “JV style,” Roberge said, with Sacopee Valley limiting action for its more experienced players.

From the MPA’s perspective, the game will be considered countable and not a forfeit, said the group’s assistant executive director, Mike Burnham.

Traip has an 18-player roster with just one senior, Donovan Robillard.

“If we had 18 players ready to roll and a little more experience, I think we would play it as a varsity game. But we have a few kids who are injured and a new kid without (the mandatory) five days of prep time to put on the pads,” said Roberge.

Roberge emphasized that Traip will evaluate its readiness to play a varsity game on a week-to-week basis.

Next weekend the Rangers are scheduled to travel 268 miles to play at Class D Washington Academy in East Machias.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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